To quantify the activity profiles of elite wheelchair rugby (WCR) players and establish classification-specific arbitrary speed zones. In addition, indicators of fatigue during full matches were explored.
Seventy-five elite WCR players from 11 national teams were monitored using a radio-frequency-based, indoor tracking system across 2 international tournaments. Players who participated in complete quarters (n = 75) and full matches (n = 25) were included and grouped by their International Wheelchair Rugby Federation functional classification: groups I (0.5), II (1.0–1.5), III (2.0–2.5), and IV (3.0–3.5).
During a typical quarter, significant increases in total distance (m), relative distance (m/min), and mean speed (m/s) were associated with an increase in classification group (P < .001), with the exception of groups III and IV. However, group IV players achieved significantly higher peak speeds (3.82 ± 0.31 m/s) than groups I (2.99 ± 0.28 m/s), II (3.44 ± 0.26 m/s), and III (3.67 ± 0.32 m/s). Groups I and II differed significantly in match intensity during very-low/low-speed zones and the number of high-intensity activities in comparison with groups III and IV (P < .001). Full-match analysis revealed that activity profiles did not differ significantly between quarters.
Notable differences in the volume of activity were displayed across the functional classification groups. However, the specific on-court requirements of defensive (I and II) and offensive (III and IV) match roles appeared to influence the intensity of match activities, and consequently training prescription should be structured accordingly.
Rhodes, Mason, and Goosey-Tolfrey are with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Perrat and Smith are with the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. Malone is with the Research Dept, UAB/Lakeshore Foundation Research Collaborative, Birmingham, AL. Address author correspondence to Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey at V.L.Tolfrey@lboro.ac.uk.